Months after the village panchayat of Srinivasapura in Bhagalur allowed a minor girl to live with her 19-year-old lover, the boy has been arrested on charges of rape.
But, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is pressing for action against the village panchayat for abetment.
According to a Bangalore Mirror report, the 16-year-old girl was allowed to live with the boy by the village panchayat amidst objections from the girlâ€™s family.
When the minor girl fell in love with the boy and refused to pay heed to her parentâ€™s advice to concentrate on her studies, the matter was brought to the attention of the village panchayat. Much to the outrage of the parents, the duo started living together in February under the instructions of the panchayat.
â€œHow can they send a minor with her boyfriend and moreover the panchayat took a decision on child marriage," Child Welfare Committee (CWC-2) chairperson Anitha Shivkumar was quoted as saying by the Bangalore Mirror.
The girlâ€™s mother sought the help of Makkala Sahayavani (child helpline) two months later, when attempts were made to marry off the girl to the boy. But, the panchayat members prevented the police and officials from taking the girl into custody.
A few days later, in May, when the mother complained to the officials that the marriage was imminent, the police brought all parties to the station and later shifted the girl to a state home.
After the case came to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the girl and her parents were counselled and her parents lodged a complaint against the boy and the boy was arrested on charges of rape.
However, the report says that Bhagalur police arrived at the state home with a letter signed by the girl stating that the boy was blameless. After the CWC found out that the girl did not know what she was signing, Bhagalur police were warned against trying to protect the accused.
â€œNow the boy has been arrested on rape charges, but no action has been taken against the panchayat. We have found out that the girl is pregnant by two months. They have ruined her life. I have summoned Bhagalur police and directed them to book all panchayat members who are part of this issue for abetment," Anitha Shivkumar told BM.